My 2012 posts with the most pageviews were really versatile and included everything from body image to recipes to travel to weightlifting. I’m a veritable Martha Stewart.
Turns out that in 2012 people really liked when I wrote about naked women and baking soda. . . but not necessarily together.
The post where I talk about naked women and how I appreciate the changing room’s token nude.
The more effort we put into covering up our imperfections by hiding our bodies from other women then the less real, unaltered images of female bodies we are exposed to.
The post where I declare Alton Brown’s soft pretzel recipe the best ever and talk a little about baking soda chemistry.
The key to making soft pretzels with a chewy interior and a crispy, deep brown crust is an alkaline bath.
Chania is a beautiful city. It’s old town area has really quaint winding alleys that are great for tourists to explore.
The post with a recipe for a delicious coconut curry with vegetables and dumplings. I’ve made this recipe several times and it is really good! I’m glad it made the top 10.
Oil Down is the national dish of Grenada and is usually made at a big party on the beach, or so I’ve read. I made this in my kitchen, so it’s not quite as fun, but it still tastes awesome.
The post where I offer up a workout plan with 3 strength exercises followed by a circuit of 3 exercises. This wasn’t my favourite routine from 2012, (this Olympic Routine was) but it was pretty popular with readers
With a circuit workout I think I need to change it up more often to keep myself motivated and excited.
The post where I bake Irish Soda Bread. Again I find myself talking about the chemistry of baking soda. Apparently alkalis are popular with the readers.
Matt said that this was the best soda bread he’s had, even though he didn’t like it. And didn’t want to eat it. Not exactly a raving review, but I’ll take it I suppose.
The post where I make a framed collage of my marathon medal, bib, and pictures.
So after a very minimal time commitment and minimal cost I ended up with a sweet homemade collection of my marathon memories. Fun times.
The post where I eat pizza out of the garbage build a wood fired oven in my backyard out of garbage can and a pile of dirt. True story.
Matt called me at the office, to ask me a very important question after spending much of the morning with Zack digging up our crab grass infested lawn:
“Umm… I got a whole bunch of dirt here, you want to make a garbage can pizza oven?”
DO I EVER!
The post where I talk about nudity—again—and how much I like seeing Lena Dunham naked. Although I think most people came to this post looking for Lena Dunham porn.
Lena Dunham isn’t terribly fat. Her body is imperfect, so basically she looks completely normal, like most of the women I know, and not at all like the stereotypical ‘perfect’ Hollywood body that we’re exposed to.
The post where I talk about how ‘inspiring’ images of fit women can be damaging to our body positivity.
Fitspo images aren’t any better for our self esteem than glossy magazine images of dangerously thin models. They’re photoshopped. They’re not attainable. And, quite frankly, they’re not all that healthy either.
21 Books. It might be a new record.
I can’t say they were all hits, but a lot of them were very good.
This was the year of the historical novel for me. I read a book set in almost every decade of the 20th century. I think I’ve discovered my new favourite genre.
It’s a lot of reviews so I’ll keep it brief. Here we go. . .
Women – Charles Bukowski
Pathetic story and a terrible waste of my time. Recap: a sad old man wakes up, gets drunk, has sex with someone, (anyone), passes out, repeats.
Atonement – Ian McEwan
The author manages the impossible: formulating an extremely well written and intriguing story centred around the word CUNT.
Plain Truth – Jodi Picoult
Picoult books. If you’ve read one you’ve read them all.
The Red Wing Sings – Tom Omstead
I read this because it was written by a local author. I appreciated his effort, but the writing was amateurish.
Left Neglected – Lisa Genova
Does the world need yet another clichéd story of the stereotypical ‘overworked’ woman who rediscovers the importance of family after a big accident? No.
Snuff – Chuck Palahniuk
Pro: I did learn a lot of facts about the porn industry. Con: It was so ridiculously over-the-top that I can only describe it by rolling my eyes.
Eating the Dinosaur – Chuck Klosterman
A fabulous series of essays reflecting on such critically important world topics such as the complexities oftime travel and the awesomeness of ABBA.
Moloka’i – Alan Brennert
Life as a Hawaiian leper ain’t so bad after all. I loved this story about how small pleasures make the long life in exile of a young leper worthwhile.
Before I Go to Sleep – S. J. Watson
I should read more great thrillers like this one. I’m now officially terrified of my family manipulating my memory when I develop amnesia. ‘Cause amnesia is super common. Soap operas say so.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
Weird. But also totally unique. A girl can taste people’s emotions in the food they cook and her brother has an equally bizarre power.
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
Why is this book so acclaimed? Sal drives all across the country and does stupid things. That’s it. Am I missing something special?
The Given Day – Dennis Lehane
I wouldn’t have picked up this book if it weren’t on sale for $2 when Borders closed. I’m glad I did. Dennis Lehane is a great writer and a good story-teller.
Moonlight Mile – Dennis Lehane
Not as good as The Given Day, but still kept me interested.
The Bonesetter’s Daughter – Amy Tan
This might be my favourite book all year. An American woman discovers the scandalous and intriguing family history of her mother’s life in China in the 30s and 40s.
The Alchemist – Paul Coelho
It’s got a lot of good messages but I won’t give it the rave reviews it’s been getting for years. If I wanted a parable I’d read the Bible.
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
Wasn’t convinced that I liked it until the very end. It’s creepy but not mind-blowing.
The Christmas Wedding – James Patterson
Hated it. It was like reading an author’s brainstorm (ie. incomplete).
Rules of Civility – Amor Towles
Love, love, loved it. Mostly because I feel a strange connection to 1930s New York. Maybe I was there in a past life.
The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
I liked it more than I was expecting. Now, if only J.K. can rewrite Harry Potter with just as much sex and swearing.
Fall of Giants – Ken Follett
Highly recommended. Well researched and well written historical novel about the first world war. My only complaint is that Follett’s sex writing is boring and dry.
Winter of the World – Ken Follett
This sequel to Fall of Giants didn’t spark me quite as much as book 1.
I ate a lot of food and cooked even more.
Christmas Eve was the main event hosted by my sister and I at my dad’s place. We made sushi, spring rolls, pulled pork sliders, mini grilled cheese sandwiches with shooters of tomato soup, baked brie, and a bunch of other tantalizing appetizers.
Turns out, these Pear, Blue Cheese, and Toasted Walnut Salad Spears? Seriously good.
Lots of Hot Yoga and Weightlifting
I started up my new 5/3/1 weightlifting routine of presses, squats, and deadlifts. It has been keeping me in the gym slightly longer than usual with all the reps on the accessory exercises.
My friend Jasmine got a pass for the hot yoga studio while she’s in town for Christmas so we went together a couple of times and I went without her too. Ahhh… I’m loving yoga.
. . . a tea infusing travel mug from Matt.
It has a lid I can use to rest the mesh insert when my tea is done steeping and better yet, this one is a thermos to keep my hot stuff hot.
I also scored some gift cards to SportChek (I see hiking boots in my future!) and a nice cash-infusion.
I Experienced the Awesomeness of Fondue, again.
My girlfriends and I got together for a FUN-due evening while everyone was home for the holidays. We hit up The Melting Pot for the cheesy, meaty, and chocolatey goodness of fondue.
I love going here for dinner. It’s makes for a nice, long night out where you can chat while your skewers of meat simmer away in the pot.
I saw my cousin get hitched
I went to the bachelorette party last weekend hosted by my cousin’s seriously fun friends and then came the rehearsal on Thursday where I met more of her seriously fun friends, and finally this weekend was the wedding. . . which did not disappoint.
And I’m so happy for my amazing cousin and her new husband, whom I very much adore.
I filled up on cake and a lot of cookies so I couldn’t even try the late night poutine bar (umm. . . how cool is that?!) and then I literally danced for hours.
. . . And it’s not even New Year’s yet!
Oy. What a jam packed holiday.7 Comments
My 2012 Christmas Wish List:
1) The Great Scandinavian Baking Book - I have an attraction to all things Scandinavian in a way that might suggest that I probably lived in Norway in a past life, so naturally I’m intrigued by this collection of cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Plus it`s a James Beard Foundation winner, so it must be a good book.
2) Bouchon Bakery - Recipes from one of the best bakeries in America. I’ve made some of Thomas Keller’s cookies in the past (like Oreos and Chocolate Chip cookies) and they’ve all turned out phenomenal.
3) Back to Baking - this is essentially a cookbook version of Anna Olson’s tv show Bake, which is my favourite foodnetwork show right now. She focuses on teaching a concept and basic technique and then gives you options to apply it to more complicated recipes.
4) Something Plaid – like this shirt, dress, or skirt from Tommy Hilfiger. I love plaid. Love. I walked into the Tommy store a few weeks ago and the place was covered in plaid. I pretty much wanted to buy everything in sight.
5) A Cute Dress - like one of these from Dorothy Perkins. I like the 1950s style, especially the fit ‘n flare cut which seems to flatter pretty much everyone.
6) A Waffle Henley – so warm, so comfortable, so perfect for pairing with yoga pants to hang out at home.
7) Deerskin Slippers - because I will put some variation of moccasins on my Christmas list every year until I get them.
8) CBC Radio-Canada Bag - is this not the coolest bag you’ve ever seen? I saw it at Pearson airport before our flight to Greece and I was SO tempted to buy it. Later, I cursed myself for not buying it because Matt’s tote ended up breaking while we were on the trip.
9) Soufflé Dish - I’m going to need one of these if I plan on making a soufflé
10) Tea Infusing Travel Mug – I like this Aladdin one because you can pop the mesh bag up when your tea is steeped. I have an old tea mug and I have to take the whole mesh insert out or deal with really, really strong tea.
What do YOU want for Christmas this year? Maybe I’ll buy it for you!*
*Under no circumstances am I obliged to buy you anything for Christmas.4 Comments
My husband’s new work schedule means I get to see him at the gym during the week now. This works out nicely for me because I have an automatic spotter. Last night he helped me crank out four 135lb bench press reps, three of which were solid and ‘all me’.
Matt’s usually easy to find at the gym because 9 times out of 10 he’s wearing bright yellow (the man has an curiously large collection of yellow t-shirts).
Unfortunately he never wears his glasses there, so him seeing me is an issue. Except apparently yesterday when he was running on the treadmill on the second floor:
“I saw you go get barbell clips* from the front desk downstairs. I knew it was you because you walk like a Muppet.“
A Muppet? Really?
Matt later demonstrated my walk: chest sticking up, arms swinging wildly, strides short and quick. I concede that it could be somewhat puppet-like.
But that’s cool, I’ll take it as a (weird) compliment. It just makes me the most adorable person in the gym.
*Our gym keeps barbell clips under lock and key and it drives me insane having to ask for them every day. They must be the sterling silver kind or something because nobody can be so cheap that they can’t afford to replace a few barbell clips from time-to-time, right?6 Comments
A fall bucket list is easy to make because there are so many fun things to do in the fall.
I was scrounging for things to put on my bucket list for Winter to the point that I almost didn’t want to make one at all. But I thought forcing myself to do something fun this winter would be better than just tucking in and waiting for April.
Bake a Panettone (Check!)
It’s everyone’s (read: my) favourite Italian yeast cake!
Maybe I’ll try a slight variation on the usual recipe: Coconut? Chocolate? or Gingerbread, perhaps?
Go Ice Skating
I’m a terrible skater but I still like skating. I haven’t gone in years and I think I need to remedy that.
Make a Soufflé (Check!)
I’ve never made a soufflé before but I’ve always wanted to. It seems like it would make a good weekend dinner on a winter night.
Maybe I’ll try this recipe from Joe Pastry.
Or one of these recipes from NPR.org.
Or maybe Julia Child’s Cheese Soufflé
But first I need to acquire a soufflé dish.
Enjoy a Warm, Crackling Fire
Preferably outdoors, like this:
I don’t exactly know how I’m going to manage this one. But hopefully at some point this winter I come across a fire that I can warm up with. Maybe with my hands wrapped around a mug of coffee or mulled wine.
My dad has a woodburning fireplace inside. It may come down to me building a fire there.
Build a Snowman (check!)
Watch The Muppet’s Christmas Carol (check!)
It’s my favourite Christmas Movie. I try catching it on TV every year, but two Decembers ago Matt bought me the DVD so now I can watch it whenever I want!10 Comments
I know that there is still technically one more month of fall, but with December nearly here and Christmas lights on display, the idea of winter is starting to set in and the feeling of autumn is fading.
Remember how I made a bucket list for all the things that I wanted to do in autumn? Well, I did them.
Do the Run for the Cure 5K (Check!)
This was our 7th year participating in the Run for the Cure which is a major fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Our team raised over $2500 and I had tonnes of energy to blast out this 5K.
Me and My Sister at the Run for the Cure
Go Apple Picking (Check!)
Despite the fact that the lady at the PYO Orchard was practically encouraging me NOT to pick any apples on the evening that I went out, I got a 15lb bag of crazy good Golden Delicious apples and ate them all.
Make a recipe from the Apple Cookbook my friend Tina bought me (Check!)
I didn’t blog about this, though I don’t know why.
I made an apple chutney and I also tried my hand at apple strudel. The filling of said strudel was to die for but the crust was atrocious. I should have taken a hint to use store bought pastry or phyllo when the recipe in the cookbook actually said: “making the dough can take decades of practice”.
I still ate the whole thing.
Buy a yellow cardigan (Check!)
I basically haven’t stopped wearing this since I bought it.
Run the Hot Chocolate 15K (Check!)
9.3 miles on Chicago’s waterfront on a beautiful November day, followed by hot chocolate and fondue. It could have been better (ya know, without the whole runner’s trots business), but I had an awesome time doing this race with Vicki and Tina and I can’t wait until we do another race together.
Why we don’t get more than 10 costumed children banging down the doors to our house is beyond me. Kids these days, yeesh!
Bake a pumpkin cake (Check!)
Okay, so it was cupcakes. . . close enough. These bad boys were really good. The cupcake reminded me more like a muffin, but when you put the buttercream frosting on it they were delicious. There’s a reason I haven’t made them again– because they would be devoured.
I watched not one, but two such games! Why?
Well, first I watched a regular season game . . .
. . . and then Matt’s team made the championships. Which their team won for the first time ever!
Congrats boys, way to end the season.5 Comments
A) I chopped my hair this weekend. It’s been years since the last time it was this short. I had gotten tired of it being long and all over the place.
It feels really good now, but I can’t help thinking that it looked better when it was long.
B) Anyone who knows me knows that, generally speaking, I like to stand. I stand when everyone else is sitting. Sometimes I stand to read a novel. At home I like putting my laptop on the kitchen counter so I can stand to surf the internet.
So my desk job doesn’t exactly fit my love of standing. Finally, after 5+ years as a desk jockey, I’ve gotten fed up with sitting for 8 hours a day so I hacked a standing work station at my cubicle with a couple of boxes. And now I spend maybe 4 hours a day standing at my desk. It feels good.
I’m considering making something a bit less provisional, but the boxes seem to be working for now.
C) A new Moksha Hot Yoga studio opened up on Ottawa St. in Windsor. Moksha is basically Bikram with a different name and a better logo.
I went with a couple of girlfriends on Sunday to the 90 minute class and I sweated so much that I came home 2 pounds lighter.
Instead of buying a single class pass I picked up the 2 week unlimited pass. I fully intend to go as many times as possible in the next 2 weeks. That’s the way I roll– when I pay for something I want to get my money’s worth. (And that’s why I don’t eat at buffets).8 Comments
It’s November. It’s practically December, actually, and Matt and I just yesterday managed to go on our October Date of the Month: wine tasting at some local wineries for their Taste the Season holiday open houses.
So we haven’t exactly been very good about making time for each other, I guess. On weeknights we usually do our own thing. I read or bake or practice guitar while Matt plays video games. On weekends we spend a lot of time together, but it’s usually in the company of other people.
In fact, our date for this month ended up being with other people, at least partially.
Yesterday morning my dad and his girlfriend mentioned that they were planning on hitting the local Essex County wineries too, so of course we had to meet up with them.
Matt and I like wine tasting. Matt has a particularly good palate and can point out flavours in wines to a T. I, on the other hand, rely heavily on the description of the flavour notes. I’ll read the label and if it says, cherry notes then I might taste cherry. Maybe.
I’m like a wine-tasting Neanderthal. “Yum! Taste Like Wine!”
We’ve done tastings in Santorini, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and in Essex county numerous times. It’s the best to go during open houses or special events because you get free tastings and, if you hit up enough wineries, then you’re bound to get shitfaced on good wine free of charge.
So it sucks when you have to be the driver, like Matt was yesterday.
We started at Muscedere Vineyards where we sampled nearly all their red wines: a pinot noir, a meritage, a syrah, and a cab sauv. Everything but the baco noir, because, to my taste buds, baco noir tastes like crap.
The Cabernet Sauvignon was my favourite. It had a really nice finish. Their red wines are pretty steeply priced, but we snagged a bottle for Matt parents for Christmas.
Next we hit up Erie Shore Vineyard. They have a super tiny tasting room which was packed with a million people (approximately 8 people, but, ya know, it felt like a lot).
We tried a couple of their whites and a couple of reds. They have a killer Riesling, but we bought a bottle of their Chardonnay which was good, and made better by the fact it was on sale for $8.
They also served a bunch of little treats as well, like Apricots in Riesling which were delicious (note to self: soak dried apricots in riesling).
We met up with my dad and Silvia at Erie Shores and then headed down the street to Sprucewood Shores. They always have a really great set-up at the open houses with lots of wine and food to sample.
At this point in the day, I had so many tastings (read: I had a real nice buzz going) that I can’t really remember any of the wines that I had at Sprucewood. I vaguely remember a rose that had a really nice strawberry taste.
I do recall that there were 3 kinds of soup (the apple and squash was delicious) and mulled wine which was a perfect way to cap off the afternoon.
We finished the day off by having dinner at my dad’s house and then we went home and watched Casino Royale which I had never seen before (yes, I know it’s, like, 6 years old).
I’m happy that we finally got to go on our October date, but now we have 2 dates that we have to do in the ever hectic month of December.
Date of the Month Club
Check out other posts in the Date of the Month club, where Matt and I go on one special date every month of 2012:
January – Bookstore Scavanger Hunt
February – Board Game Night
March – Bowling
April – Detroit Walking Tour
May – Colasanti’s
June – Picnic
July – Next Restaurant
August – Detroit Tigers Baseball Game
September – Detroit Institute of Arts
I started coming down with a cold on Wednesday, but it peaked overnight and into this morning with all the usual disgusting symptoms of snotty noses and sniffling that any person would not want to hear from the next cubicle over. So I called in sick.
Matt’s sick too, so we’re both home today. I figured I’d spend most of the day resting, but I haven’t.
I woke up before 8 and made pancakes for breakfast, because I figured, why not?
Then I took Bagigis for a short walk which turned into a very long walk since the weather was nice and the fresh air felt good.
Then I came home and bathed her because the vet said that she has some dry skin disorder and needs a weekly bath with medicated shampoo.
Since I bathed her in the tub, our tub was filthy. So of course I had to clean it. Then I went ahead and cleaned the rest of the bathroom too. I would have continued and cleaned the whole house, but I figured Matt wouldn’t be too impressed.
The day just kept getting nicer and so I somehow managed to convince (guilt?) Matt to help me pick up some of the never-ending leaves in the front yard.
And while I was raking, our MPP stopped by canvassing which was super cool because I had never met him before and I like talking to politicians. I stopped to chat with him a bit and he seemed impressed by my vague awareness of provincial politics, go figure.
While we were raking, I promised Matt that I would sit down and do nothing as soon as we finished and went inside. Of course, my version of doing nothing is baking a loaf of bread and making up a meal plan and grocery list for next week.
Then, naturally, I had to go buy those groceries.
So now it’s 4:15 and I’m exhausted and finally sitting down to do nothing because if I try doing one more thing around here I think Matt might flip out on me.
Oy. I should have just gone into work.
I’m finally settling down to tea, tissues, and a new magazine from a subscription that I recently won. It came in the mail today.2 Comments
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- Lose 6cm from my waistline
Start (Aug 15): 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Aug 31: 82cm /89cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
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Oct 1: 83cm/ 88cm/ 165.6lb
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Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
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Aug 1:: 80cm/ 85cm/ 163.4lb